If one issue has occupied the world psyche this December 2019 end, it was CAA 2019 or the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 which has caused much flutter in India and some din in some pockets of Indians living abroad. The issue is at least symbolically important – perhaps worthy of a constitutional challenge – but passions run high over CAA 2019 on both sides of the fence. Media could not escape it either unless you are a hard core independent observer. In this high voltage issue, the choice of words speaks volumes of how one thinks.
“THE in-your-face brazenness of the Uttar Pradesh law enforcement machinery in dealing with anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters is stark. In trying to project a harsh, no-nonsense approach for maintaining order on the streets, the message the Yogi Adityanath government has managed to send across inadvertently or intentionally does not camouflage communal overtones: ‘don’t you dare (protest)’”, said an opinion piece in the Tribune from Chandigarh, India.
The paragraph speaks volumes of how the writer is feeling.
The list of casualties has been growing and stands (at the time of writing this piece) at 20. There is a citing of a fatal victim’s parents filing an FIR against the police for their 20 years old boy. This death is an absolute tragedy which should have been avoided.
But the police and the administration is blaming the Congress and other political parties for fueling the fire and alleging ‘paid’ protesters on streets in many cases.
The famous case of Ladeeda and Farzana – two Muslim girls captured on camera trying to protect their male friend who was being lathi-charged by the police has reached almost every nook and corner of the globe. Their efforts to provide a body-shield to their male friend is praise-worthy. But it has not been much highlighted that the police was being hurled abuse as by those students – who were also captured shouting –
BJP ke dalalon ko,
Joote maaro saalon ko.
Plus there was damage being caused to public and private property.
And the police involved – were absolutely respectful to the girls.
In all this, a fair minded reporter – should have told both sides of the story. Sadly, no one spoke for the police, who could also be fathers, brother and husbands at home.
CAA is bad look legislation as it expressly misses including Muslims while it includes Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians. The right to protest cannot be taken away as long as the protest is peaceful. But it could not be so as it has delivered unexpected armour to the Congress and other parties opposing it. Suddenly, P. Chidambaram is buoyant and leaping to Rahul Gandhi’s defence and tells the Army Chief of India Bipin Rawat to shut up and mind his own business when Rawat had suggested that leading a protest laden with ‘arson and vandalism’ cannot be called leadership.
As an Indian witnessing public property being vandalized, he is fully entitled to speak what he feels. As the army chief , who usually keeps silent in such cases, he was interpreted as batting for the BJP and thus Chidambaram’s barb.
Also read: CAB is not India’s descent into theocracy
If a CM is firm in taking action, he is seen as denier of right to protest. If the government says the colleges and universities are for learning and not protesting, they are being seen as religious bigots who are promoting separatism and seen as dividing India. While passions run high over CAA 2019, the fact that the amendments deal with non-citizens and those who have entered India illegally not Indian citizens has been relegated to the back burner.
All this when India is really, and visibly hurting.
Everyone is trying to grind their axe the best way they can, without caring about the nation, media included.
Amid all all this, protests continue. Perhaps a lot to come.